AD #1810 – Geneva Motor Show Reveals, Autonomous Google Car Crashes, Why FCA Axed the Dodge Dart & Chrysler 200

March 1st, 2016 at 11:32am

Runtime: 6:36

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- Concepts and New Cars
- Autonomous Google Car Gets in Accident
- China Struggles with EV Sales
- Why FCA Axed the Dodge Dart & Chrysler 200

Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone and Dow Automotive Systems.

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher | YouTube

Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website:

35 Comments to “AD #1810 – Geneva Motor Show Reveals, Autonomous Google Car Crashes, Why FCA Axed the Dodge Dart & Chrysler 200”

  1. Jeff Jones Says:

    With FCA killing the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 to increase capacity on Jeeps and Rams what’s going to happen to their CAFE numbers? Surely they can’t sell enough Fiats to make up the difference!

  2. Fred Says:

    It looks like Chrysler is obsessed with a “legacy of success” for the chairman at the expense of any viable future products. Short term “profits” and stock option rewards for setting the company up for a very uncertain future.

  3. WineGeek Says:

    What about the “deal” to produce some small fuel efficient cars when FCA got our tax money to buy Chrysler for almost nothing? Oh I forgot our congressional representatives have very short memories…

  4. Lisk Says:

    Just curious if FCA will be moving truck production to the current Dart/200 plants or will they instead go to Mexico where the Dart/200 were supposed to be headed?

    Also, not having any manufacturing experience, will a major redesign of the plant floor be required to build trucks that are much larger than the passenger cars?

  5. David Sprowl Says:

    Not sure of FCA’s strategy. It appears that parental abuse of both Dodge & Chrysler will eventually kill off both brands. That would be a shame when you consider that the US has yet to embrace any other of FCA’s cars for this market.It looks more to me that by shedding the cars and ridding the new company of debt, FCA is positioning itself for a merger to another auto company that needs trucks and a US dealer network.

  6. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I hate to say this,but I see where macaroni is coming from on this.FCA is making their money essentially on two brands,Ram and Jeep.As far as CAFE goes,Jeep has that covered with those baby jeeps,(I forget the name of it)but it has the same 4 cyl and 9spd I have in my van.Not earth shattering mpg’s,but pretty damn good.Their Ram pickups are selling good,as well as pretty much the whole Jeep lineup.And to date,nobody has anything to compete against any of the wranglers.

  7. Marshall Says:

    My family bought three Chrysler/Plymouth vehicles between 1985 & 1992. Personally my interest in Chrysler evaporated when Fiat took over control.

  8. Brett Says:

    An astute observation. Volkswagen, perhaps?

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sergio’s plan is very short sighted, unless he already has a sale/merger lined up with someone looking for a light truck company. Gas prices will go up, and more people will want cars.

    The current 200 isn’t that bad, and it is one of the best looking cars in it’s class. Instead of dropping it, they should fix what’s wrong. For a start, they need to buy four cylinder engines from Honda.

  10. David Sprowl Says:

    1) Jeep and Ram products sans the rest of the cars they might sell, are with in a small distance of the 2025 Cafe numbers now. Add and aluminum Jeep Wrangler and the if the goal is not reached it will not take much.
    8) I’ve been thinking the same.

  11. LVcurious Says:

    8 and 10: I would agree except I think VW is not going to survive their scandal, and then lumping it in with FCA with all their trouble? I don’t know about this.

  12. Albemarle Says:

    I wonder what FCA’s longer term plan is to meet CAFE. I would expect the Board of Directors would insist. They would have had to approve Sergio’s moves.
    On the other hand, the amount of money they have given Sergio over the years, (assuming he didn’t start with a whole bunch), indicates that he has pretty good control of the Board.
    Don’t know about Italian law, but American law is clear about board responsibility and FCA is an American company.
    So, interesting to watch how they will (a) meet CAFE, (b) provide their dealer network with a full line to sell. Dealers probably don’t care too much about the Dart, but the 200 was a money maker for them.

  13. Lex Says:

    @ 5 & 8 I agree because didn’t Dodge build a Rebadged Dodge minivan for Volkwagen. I see the FCA brands in this way.

    Chrysler = Luxury
    Dodge = Performance
    Jeep = SUVs
    Ram = Trucks
    FIAT = Economy

    The demise of the Dodge Viper, Chrysler 200 and Dart should save FCA in refreshing costs for those three nameplates. The freed up production capacity should be given to Jeep for a seven passenger large SUV above the Grand Cherokee. The return of the Jeep Commander was a dedicated 7/8 passenger vehicle would be a welcome addition to the Jeep Brand along with a Jeep inspired small to mid size pickup truck under the Liberty nameplate.
    FCA could also combine the Patriot and Compass into one vehicle slotted above the Renegade and below the Cherokee. This would free up even more production and advertising dollars in the long run. What do you think?

  14. Rob Says:

    FCA could do a refresh on the cheap with just new fascias and minor changes. Run the 200 and Dart til sales drop off but with the sales up from previous the year seems a bit premature.

    What about the Challenger which is basically a 7 year old design leaving just the Charger and 300. FCA might as well say they are an SUV/truck company with one luxury vehicle and a police car.

  15. RumNCoke Says:

    What is wrong with Chrysler, er, FCA? It seems like the automotive equivalent of Sisyphus, forever doomed to rolling a boulder up a hill just to see it roll down again. It’s always a crisis followed by a brilliant idea followed by another crisis. I have liked Mopars since The King ruled the Super Speedways but, man, it’s enough to give a guy permanent heartburn.

  16. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Another thing FCA is doing is small diesels.That brings up the CAFE average too.The wranglers will be offered with the 2.8 VM CRD’s,and those great little diesels can find their way into more product too.Maybe even their last remaining mini vans.Sergio isn’t stupid,he has something(s) up his sleeve to offset the loss of the 200 and the dart.

  17. omegatalon Says:

    Electric Vehicles are expensive whether they’re sold in China or the United States as China’s consumers will probably opt for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles before jumping to electric because it’s much easier to simply refuel a hybrid with gas than spend hours recharging a EV.

  18. MJB Says:

    The “Phideon”? Okayyyy… I see the car still couldn’t manage to shake that mundane and unapologetically boorish looking grille (and overall front-end).

  19. W L Simpson Says:

    The kiss principle needs to be severely applied to hybrids. few batts ,small constant duty eng/gen , inwheel motors, Tweel tires

  20. W L Simpsono Says:

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 Challenger is the Dodge brand’s sales success. It’s too big, and isn’t very sporty handling, but it has a certain appeal. I really like the way it looks.

  22. BobD Says:

    From what I recall a month or two ago, FCA didn’t really say they were killing off selling cars, they just said they would not be manufacturing them. I interpret that to be that their strategy going forward is to rebadge other other manufacturer’s cars to take the place of the Dart and 200 (and perhaps keep those names). I assume they would also keep selling the Fiats. Perhaps I’m wrong on this.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe they will rebadge Mitsubishi cars. There is a historical precident.

  24. HtG Says:

    21.22 That’s what I see happening. Save on the engineering, free up production for high margin taller cars(SUV), the stock rises, Sergio M. gets paid, and John Elkann is a genius.

  25. Drew Says:

    Diesels and Fiats will not get FCA to the 2025 CAFE requirement. They will need a high percentage of HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs. But, they have shown very little competency in this space. So, the seemingly short-sighted action to divest from Dart and 200 must be to position FCA for a merger.

    Some survivors within Chrysler have learned French (Renault), German (M-B), and Italian (Fiat). I suspect they will be adding Chinese to their vocabulary.

  26. Rob Says:

    20 Kit dont get me wrong I like the Challenger but the design has been around since 08 and I would expect sales to start dropping other than picking up the Viper sales of maybe 2000 units with the hellcat next year. Even Ford and Chevy are getting further away from the retro style and the Challenger is going to need a refresh soon. For what 60k cars a year?

  27. HtG Says:

    24. Sergio M. has been saying for years that a carco needs 5.5 million units per year to be viable. But that would be a blow if Jeep were bought by the Chinese; my mother learned to drive on a Willys, ya know.

  28. HtG Says:

    Ironically, I learned to drive on a ’72 Alfa Spyder. TMI, i know.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25 Yeah, Challenger sales numbers are pretty low, especially for having so many variants. Challenger probably offers more powertrain choices than any other car sold in the U.S.

    Still, the tooling exists, so they’d might as well build them, as long as sales are steady, or increasing.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26 Given the “all American” image, I would expect Chinese ownership to hurt Jeep, though maybe most buyers wouldn’t even know. I’d be surprised if more than a quarter of Range Rover drivers know the company is owned by Tata.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    or that Volvo owners know the company is Chinese owned.

  32. G.A.Branigan Says:

    If macaroni offs Jeep to the chinese,he’s shooting himself in the foot.

  33. XA351GT Says:

    So let me see if I got this right, FCA will make more money by NOT building cars. Kind of sounds like the spend your way out of debt policy by the government a few years back. By my count that leaves Chrysler/Dodge with only 3 cars, the 300,Charger and Challenger. All built on the same platform and all way past the redesign. So does that mean they will get the axe too? If not building 2 models will save money then not building 5 will have them out of debt yesterday(roll eyes )

  34. Rob Says:

    31 If Sergio offs Jeep to the Chinese he should aim alot higher (above the neck).
    Something like cutting off your nose in spite of your face.

  35. stiophan Says:

    FCA could offer a replacement from Fiat Europe that covers both the Dart and Fiats home sedan requirements. FCA is not abandoning making cars in Europe and big SUVs don’t sell in big numbers outside North America (mexico excluded). Kill two birds and mimic Fords global car view. I agree FCA will do anything to look better for a new suitor. Most new partners would only be interested in the US slice and there are few partners who are healthy and don’t already sell in the US. VW might be want the US truck part or China. Mazda still needs a partner it does not compete with..